7 Tips to Manage Your International Business Travel Expenses

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 12/09/2023

Business travel expenses make up the second-largest cost factor for companies, so companies struggle to manage them at one point or another. Streamlining the tracking of expenses and the reimbursement process is crucial to efficiently manage overseas business travel expenses. However, to reduce the back and forth between the employees and the finance managers, it is important to be thoroughly acquainted with the business travel expense reimbursement policy. Once this is clarified, employees will have a better understanding of which expenses can and cannot be claimed under the policy. It will help them plan their expenditures accordingly.

To assist business travellers on their next overseas journey, we have curated a business travel expense management guide to controlling work-related travel expenses. But before exploring these business travel tips, you must get your own inclusive travel insurance policy to plan for contingency situations when you are away from home.

Understanding What are Business Travel Expenses

In line, overseas business travel expenses are costs incurred by an employee to attain work goals when on a business trip. It is essentially a journey an employee takes on behalf of their employer for work. During this trip, any work-related expense is considered a business expense and most commonly includes transportation, meals, and accommodation costs.

These work-related travel expenses are incurred by the company in one of two ways:

  • Either the company will bear the travel and accommodation expenses by paying for them at the time of reservation or

  • The company may have a business travel expense reimbursement policy wherein the employees will initially pay for the business travel expenses, and the company will reimburse these later

In the case of self-paid trips, employees must preserve all the receipts of their expenses to present as proof for reimbursement. For efficient business travel expense management, employees must make themselves aware of all the inclusions and exclusions of the expenses their company will bear.

7 Tips for Business Travel Expense Management

Here are some business travel tips that can help you manage your expenses when you travel abroad for work:

Carefully Read Your Company’s Travel Policy

Before you commence your business trip, check your company's travel policy with particular attention to the expenses that will and will not be covered. You must also check the policy document for all the kinds of booking that your company will reimburse you for. For instance, some companies will not permit their employees to stay at a five-star hotel or might give a budget for accommodation. Check these specifications beforehand so that you don’t return from your trip to debt. Make a checklist of all the documentation that you will need to share with your employer so they can make the reservations on your behalf. And finally, check with your company’s HR person for any doubts. Once you have an idea about the budget, you can plan your expenditure accordingly.

Make a Note of Your Work-Related Travel Expenses

When you are journeying abroad, you must always maintain a diary that enlists all the expenses you have incurred on your trip. Tracking your expenses regularly will ensure that you are not going over the stipulated budget outlined by your employer. Not only will maintaining a note of your expenses help you plan your expenditure, but it will also come to your aid at the time of reimbursement. Without your expense diary, you might find it challenging to recall all your expenses on the trip, and you may forget what you need to get a reimbursement for. Noting down your expenses can help you recall the intricacies of the expenses incurred, making it easy to accurately report them upon your return. In addition to noting the expenses, it is also important to save all the expense receipts to submit as proof for reimbursement.

Use Apps for Managing Your Overseas Business Travel Expenses

In an internet-powered world, you need not worry about the calculations and planning of your expense management because you will always find an app to do these things for you. Travel expense apps can help organise your receipts and plan your expenses by setting up a daily budget. There are different travel apps for Android and iOS users that help track expenses before and after your journey. These travel apps encourage users to first add all the prepaid expenses, such as travel and accommodation. And once you commence your journey, these apps categorise expenses for the user, give statistical travel reports, track your expenses through multiple currencies, etc.

Pack Light

Whenever you travel for work, you must always pack light. When you travel light, you can avoid additional expenses on additional baggage. As you may be aware, you are only allowed a certain weight; going above this weight means you will have to pay extra. Even your employer may limit baggage carrying under its travel expense policy or may not pay for excess baggage at all. Therefore, travellers must ensure that they only pack essential items to keep from going over the prescribed airline baggage limit.

Reduce Travel Costs When You Can

When you commence any journey on behalf of your employer, you must try to minimise your travel costs whenever you can. This does not mean you have an uncomfortable trip but one where you are sensitive to the budget and the expenditure. For instance, consider using public transport instead of hiring a cab to get from one place to another. Additionally, your employer may have set specific budgets for accommodations and meals; if you overshoot these, you may have to pay for the balance from your pocket. However, while you must try to curb your expenses wherever possible, you must also make prudent travel decisions. For example, to cut down your accommodation expenses, don’t book an unclean hotel that is from your client’s destination. Doing this can compromise your productivity.

Separate Your Personal and Business Expenses

While this might seem obvious, the lines can easily blur when you spend overseas. And so, before swiping your card, think carefully about where you would allocate your expense. To illustrate with an example, if you are travelling to a tourist spot in your free time, you cannot bill the entrance expenses to your employer. However, if you are sharing a meal with your client, you can ask your company to reimburse you for the same.

Ensure You are Adequately Covered with Corporate Travel Insurance

When you make a business trip, ensure you are appropriately covered under the company’s travel insurance plan. This is because a travel insurance policy can look after all the contingency scenarios when you are travelling. A well-rounded travel insurance plan ensures you can travel worry-free because it shoulders the financial burden of emergencies on your behalf. The travel insurance by Tata AIG covers the policyholder against a range of unpleasant scenarios such as medical emergencies, flight cancellation, flight delay, theft of money or passport loss, and misplaced or lost luggage. If the travel insurance plan by your company does not offer comprehensive coverage, you can consider opting for one to protect yourself.

Wrapping Up

While it is exciting to travel abroad, it is essential to appropriately manage your expenses, so they don’t get out of hand. Employees can ensure a safe and relaxed trip with the aforementioned business travel tips and the right travel insurance. A bonus tip for every traveller is to always compare travel insurance plans to find suitable coverage.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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